The remaining four skippers to advance to the Quarter-Final round of the Bermuda Gold Cup were decided in a quick, one race match yesterday.
ISAF World match racing champion Karol Jablonski/Team MK Café, Staffan Lindberg/Team Musto, Jesper Radich/Team Radich and Mattias Rahm/Team Stena Bulk will advance into the Quarter-Final round today and be one step closer to a large share of the $65,000 purse. All four skippers were leading their match-ups with two wins yesterday when racing was concluded and only needed one additional win to move on and join the Group 1 skippers who qualified in their half of Round One yesterday.
Jablonski, who is ranked number 3 in the ISAF world match race rankings, eliminated Chris Law/ "The Outlaws" in a thrilling, multi-penalty race. "When sailing against Chris Law you have to calculate that he'll be aggressive,"#
said Jablonski. "We lost the start even though we forced a penalty on him and we managed to round the mark right behind him and said 'We can't give up.'"
Law was leading to the leeward mark rounding, still carrying the penalty, when he jibed in front of Jablonski giving him another penalty and an automatic red flag. Now inside the two-boatlength circle, Law began his penalty turn, but wasn't relieved of the penalty by the on-the-water umpires. Law rounded the mark, completed another turn, letting Jablonski sail by him and into an unbreakable lead.
"It's difficult to lose in that situation,"
said Jablonski. "This race was 100% match racing."
Jablonski will face Mattias Rahm tomorrow. "We met him at the Swedish Match and lost, but we have improved a lot since then,"
said Jablonski. "I think the pressure is on him."
Radich, who is ranked number 5 on the Swedish Match Tour, led Tucker Thompson/ T2 Productions off the start and held the advantage to a win. "Tucker did a good job at getting at us in the pre-start,"
said Radich. "Our idea was to get our boat going and stop him from getting to the side of the course that we wanted. We felt we had a faster boat."
Radich will race Lindberg this morning in the 'first-to-three' Quarter-Finals.
Lindberg, whose best Swedish Match Tour finish is third. in the Danish Open, ousted local favorite Glenn Astwood/Team Bacardi. "We had good speed, but he was a bit faster,"
said Lindberg. But Astwood made a fatal mistake, allowing Lindberg to control his fate at the start. "In the last 30 seconds of the start we had him right where we wanted him,"
said Astwood. "I decided to take his transom (at the start) and it was a mistake. That lost me the race."
Mattias Rahm/Team Stena Bulk led fellow Swede Marie Bjorling and gained the win. "Mattias is good at controlling the boat and he controlled the match,"
said Bjorling. "We had seven days of sailing to prepare and it was great sailing."
Pro - AM Fleet Racing
Once the Quarter-finals had been decided yesterday afternoon, a challenging pro-am fleet race series was held for the benefit of spectators and guests in front of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
The races were run in 12-14 knot breezes that were perhaps the most challenging here so far. Gusts of 15-16 knots tested both teamwork and stamina.
In the three fleet races, Sonesta Beach Resort proved themselves the best prepared of the sponsors to win. Jesper Radich (DEN) guided the Sonesta Beach Resort Team to a victory in race one and second-place finishes in races two and three. "The crew did all the boathandling; I just steered,"
said Radich, who, was looking forward to today's quarter-finals said. "It was a lot of fun."